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five Ways to Drive Patient Privacy Regulation Compliance from Within Your Organization

By Isaac Kohen, Initially published in HFMA  

  • Start from the inside in order to mitigate top healthcare data dangers.
  • Safeguarding patient data  in a dynamic healthcare  environment is replete with  distinctive challenges.
  • From accidental data leaks in order to malicious theft, insiders account for most healthcare-related data breaches.

When healthcare organizations neglect to protect patient personal information, they may encounter damage to their reputation and reduce patients to other healthcare providers seen by the public as more responsible plus reliable. In addition , when privacy laws and regulations are violated, financial penalties as well as other sanctions may ultimately make it more difficult for these healthcare providers to deliver high quality patient care.

While it makes sense to shield patients’ health-specific data, social protection numbers and home addresses through external bad actors, the most significant risks are on the inside. From accidental information leaks to malicious theft, based on a  HIPAA Journal   April 3, 2018 content,   insiders account for the vast majority of healthcare-related data breaches .

Healthcare suppliers need to develop plans for safeguarding patient information. Unfortunately, there isn’ t a silver bullet that will ensures 100% security under every single circumstance, but every organization can perform a better job of protecting patient information.

Here are five steps that every doctor should take to guard against insider threats in 2020.

1 ) Detect and prevent insider threats.   Insider threats are more than simply an abstraction, and they occur along with frightening regularity both from unintentional data disclosures and malicious robbery.

According to  Verizon’ s 2018 Insider Threat Report ,   more than half of all healthcare companies had been impacted by an insider threat, plus carelessness is one of the main culprits. From ubiquitous access to mobile technology towards the blurring lines between personal plus professional data creates an environment that’ s poised for data improper use.

For example ,   nearly 30% of healthcare team members   make use of personal devices to transmit individual information, a practice that generates data privacy concerns on several levels, according to an article in  JMIR Human Factors .

On this dubious digital environment, IT managers can’ t be expected to protect the actual can’ t identify. Fortunately, there are several indicators of an insider threat, plus software solutions, like robust overseeing software, that can detect those poor actors while preventing them through misusing personal health information (PHI) plus personally identifiable information (PII).

Regardless of a good employee’ s intent, healthcare businesses have a responsibility to detect and stop data misuse, and deploying the suitable tools is the first step in the procedure.

2 . Provide guidelines plus policies for data mismanagement.   If employees are expected to shield patients’ data, then healthcare institutions need to provide clear guidelines plus policies to help prevent data mismanagement. These might include:

  • Specifying the devices that can be used to gain access to patient data
  • Determining appropriate time and place of information access
  • Maintaining the need-to-know posture toward healthcare information
  • Prioritizing discretion whenever transmitting patient information
  • Utilizing approved communication channels intended for professional discourse

Simultaneously, healthcare leaders need to provide workers with real-time awareness to carry out this priority.

Protecting patient information in a dynamic healthcare environment can be replete with unique challenges. However, most well-
intentioned employees can violate HIPAA personal privacy regulations, so checks and amounts such as real-time alerts to promote information awareness are both helpful and required.

In addition , automated technical safeguards that will control access to PHI can considerably reduce patient data exposure whilst lessening the possibility of a compliance breach.

3. Data-driven training plus retraining.   HIPAA needs that companies handling PHI plus PII prepare their employees additional information. While the HIPAA regulation  needs companies to “ train every workforce members on its personal privacy policies and procedures , because necessary and appropriate for them to perform their functions, ” the concrete expression of this training is largely remaining up to individual entities.

Regardless of the strategy, data security and privacy education should be consistent, clear and responsible. First-day orientation and annual conferences are not enough to protect PHI plus PII.

It needs to be baked to the company’ s ethos, and that just occurs with repetition and normal instruction.

Other training-related keys consist of:

  • Data security schooling should be specific and data-driven, making certain employees are prepared to protect patient information.
  • Healthcare companies may leverage their monitoring software to deal with specific shortcomings within an organization.

For example , it’ s approximated that  nearly 500, 000 information are compromised   each day because of mobile devices, according to  HIPAA Journal . If an organization finds that its employees consistently access patient data from a cellular device, they can target their schooling to restrict or prioritize data gain access to from these devices.

4. Endpoint data loss prevention.   Whenever possible, preventing a data reduction event is a top priority for health care IT administrators, and software is the very best weapon in this ongoing battle. Worker monitoring software can provide real-time notices to suspicious data activity. This could reduce response time from hrs or days to minutes, possibly preventing a data disaster prior to it starts.

To put it simply, identifying probable threats is important, but stopping all of them from stealing or revealing delicate data is the goal.

five. IT forensics in the aftermath of the data breach.   Naturally , data security is an evolving danger with many manifestations, and, when some thing does go wrong, healthcare providers should find out from the episode and demonstrate an encumbrance of proof.

Today’ s worker monitoring software allows hospitals as well as other healthcare providers to produce detailed occurrence reports derived from session recordings, entry logs and other data points. These details can be shared with privacy officers and may be analyzed to improve best practices in the years ahead.

Meanwhile, IT forensics allows businesses to hold perpetrators responsible, ensuring that destructive data theft is detected plus appropriately punished.

To adequately guard patient data, healthcare companies have to turn their attention to potential insider threats, implement guidelines and procedures for data mismanagement, focus on worker training and retraining, prevent information loss in the first place and enable THIS forensics to manage and analyze information breaches.

This article was initially published on HFMA and published with permission.  

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